Herbal Treatment Threatens Malaria Fight

Published on 3rd June 2008

The fight against malaria, which used to be a localised issue especially in third world countries has been featuring in international conferences such as the G8, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (I M F) as a global threat to development, growth and poverty reduction. Countries facing the malaria pandemic relies mostly on foreign Aid and grants to fund the fight against malaria.

Despite this, many citizens from these countries cannot afford the recommended drugs due to their high costs or access health facilities and have now turned  to alternative medicine commonly known as herbal treatment.

Herbal cure is as old as man and has been used for cure long before modern medicine came up.

Despite its acclaimed magic in treatment of almost all diseases, herbal medicine field is now facing a crisis. The influx of “ape’ and “quack” doctors in this field have reduced the quality and effectiveness of drugs being sold, while ripping off victims their hard earned money in exchange of non –performing cure.

This unfolding scene of herbal doctors in every market and roadsides has forced most governments such as Kenya to raise its concern with a promise to rattle illegal practitioners and review the legal rules regulating the herbal sector in the country. It has promised stringent action and measures so as to lock out unqualified practitioners.

Many deaths have been witnessed especially in poverty riddled areas and majority of people have died of diseases such as malaria, typhoid and amoeba even after getting herbal treatment in roadside clinics.

Poverty levels continue to escalate especially among the poor, due to the impact of fake herbal treatment whose cost is pocket friendly to poor people. Drugs resistance in the fight against malaria is also a common problem and many governments have moved swiftly to search of long term solutions for instance in Kenya, the government shifted from the use of sulfadoxinepyrimethamine (SP) treatment to artemisin based combination therapy called coartem due to drug resistance.

Some fruits of cure are being witnessed after this shift. If our people are willing to fight poverty, diseases and under – development, then the best ways lies in making their governments responsible in ensuring there’s provision of a vibrant healthy scheme affordable to all, starting of mobile clinics where clinics and dispensaries do not exist and legalising the herbal sector to allow only qualified desirable practitioners are some of the ways forward.

Other practices such as embracing indoors residual spraying (IRS) initiative can help in rolling back and eradicating malaria.

This will protect the poor and propel poor countries to development without donor dependency.

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